Vietnamese Ambassador to Hungary Nguyen Thi Bich Thao paid a working visit to Debrecen – the capital city of Hajdú-Bihar - in late October to boost cooperation between the two countries’ localities, particularly in labour, education and training.

During her stay, Thao paid courtesy visits to and had working sessions with the Mayor of Debrecen, leaders of Hajdú-Bihar County, and representatives of the University of Debrecen, and met Hungarian friends who love Vietnam, together with nearly 80 Vietnamese students living in the city.

In these working sessions, Thao affirmed that the Vietnamese Government and people always remember Hungary’s support in the field of human resources training. She agreed with Mayor László Papp’s proposal on collaboration orientation in labour.

The ambassador also thanked the leaders of Hajdú-Bihar for creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese citizens; and pledged to support and connect the county with other Vietnamese localities, such as Tuyen Quang, which also has strengths and potential in hot mineral springs, and continue to promote training cooperation, especially for high-quality technical workers.

The Hungarian side expressed their hope to enhance cooperation with Vietnamese partners in culture, tourism and labour, and committed to speeding up support activities and technology transfer for Vietnamese localities.

A representative of the University of Debrecen - Hungary's second largest tertiary educational facility with about 40,000 students a year, expressed a desire to promote cooperation with Vietnam through expert exchange, adding that the university is ready to provide its scholarships to Vietnamese students (besides the number of scholarships according to the two Governments’ agreement), especially in its strong fields like agriculture, medicine, pharmacy, and farm produce and food processing. At present, there are 221 Vietnamese students learning in the university.

NA deputies discuss measures to accelerate public investment fund disbursement

The National Assembly (NA) deputies continued their agenda on Thursday, focusing on ways to accelerate the disbursement of public investment funds to meet the goals outlined in the NA's mid-term public investment plan for the 2021-2025 period.

They emphasised several proposed solutions, including enhancing regional connectivity to drive socio-economic development, implementing policies to support the growth of the private sector, and ensuring equitable revenue distribution for local governments.

At the 6th session, NA deputies discussed the implementation of the mid-term public investment plan for the 2021-2025 period, the national financial plan and public debt management for the 2021-2025 period, the State budget execution for 2023, and the State budget estimates and allocation plan for the central budget in 2024.

Deputy Chu Thị Hồng Thái from northern Lạng Sơn Province expressed her agreement with the Government's report and the examination report of the NA Finance and Budget Committee on these issues.

She concurred with the committee's report on measures for the remaining two years, including the proposal that the Government should focus on directing and allocating resources for project preparation and addressing the issue of capital awaiting projects.

Regional development, she also emphasised, was a consistent and overarching policy of the Party, and the north central and northern mountainous regions were considered strategically important areas with vast potential and advantages, but still faced challenges in development.

Although the Government had paid attention to bringing infrastructure development projects to these regions, the connectivity between regions was still weak, she said.

Thái said there needed to be further cooperation between localities. She proposed that the NA and the Government consider upgrading, renovating and expanding National Highway 1B connecting Lạng Sơn and Thái Nguyên provinces in the list of public investment projects for the coming years.

Deputy Khương Thị Mai from northern Nam Định Province emphasised the need to restructure the economy, combining fiscal policies with monetary and other macroeconomic policies to promote private sector development.

She pointed out that currently, 95 per cent of businesses were small and medium-sized enterprises.

To reach the goal of having 1.5 million enterprises by 2025, with 60-70 per cent of them being medium and large enterprises, Mai recommended administrative reform, ensuring a stable business investment environment, enhancing State management efficiency and responsibility of authorised agencies, reviewing and streamlining support policies, and ensuring the feasibility and scale of policies to support business development.

Additionally, she proposed that the Government implement a comprehensive policy to increase the national labour productivity tied to restructuring the economy towards a higher proportion of high-value-added sectors and the adoption of advanced technologies.

Contributing to the discussion, Deputy Nguyễn Trúc Sơn from southern Bến Tre Province assessed that the Government has taken multiple tax and fee reduction measures to stimulate business and production. However, these measures have also affected local governments by reducing their revenue.

The deputy suggested that to compensate for reduced local revenues due to government policies, it was essential to create conditions for localities to generate revenue from other sources to maintain a balance between revenue and expenditure.

For example, he said, provinces in the Mekong Delta or coastal provinces had significant potential for wind energy development, and conditions should be created for these provinces to develop this sector to generate additional revenue.

In the case of 21 southern cities and provinces with significant revenue benefits from lottery activities, this revenue was currently allocated to education, healthcare and rural development, according to Government policies. Sơn proposed that the People's Councils of these localities have the authority to decide on the use of lottery revenue for projects that played a crucial role in local economic development.

In reply to NA deputies, Minister of Finance Hồ Đức Phớc emphasised that the Government has been implementing an expansionary fiscal policy, meaning that in cases of fiscal deficit, tax reductions were carried out while government spending continues to rise.

Over the past three years, the Ministry of Finance has proposed various tax reductions to the Government and the NA, with an estimated reduction of around VNĐ200 trillion (US$8.13 billion) this year. According to the minister, this was a significant effort.

Regarding the budget estimates for 2023, Phớc said as of October 30, tax revenues have reached 85 per cent. In response to some deputies' suggestions regarding increasing revenues from land taxes, the minister mentioned that revenues from land taxes and crude oil were relatively small. The bulk of tax revenues came from production and business activities, especially domestic tax revenues.

Concerning the issue of public investment disbursement, the minister stated that as of now, the disbursement has reached 57 per cent according to the Prime Minister's decision, but it was only 52 per cent when considering both the Prime Minister's decision and those of local authorities. He proposed that amending the Public Investment Law was necessary to address the obstacles in public investment disbursement. 

Hanoi Tourism Gift Festival 2023 to feature a variety of cultural activities

A series of arts and cultural activities, including a fashion show, musical performance, cyclo parades and 3D mapping art exhibition, will be held as part of Hanoi Tourism Gift Festival 2023 from November 3-5.

The three-day event aims to stimulate tourism demand and promote the image of the capital city as an attractive and safe tourist destination. It is also expected to support artisans and craft villages in producing souvenirs for tourists, connect craft villages and gift production units with tourism service providers, thereby contributing to the development of the tourism industry.

The festival, with the theme Hà Nội – Đến Để Yêu (Hà Nội – Come to Love), will kick off at the pedestrian zone in front of Thống Nhất Park on Trần Nhân Tông Street.

According to the organisers, the main stage of the event is designed like a giant gift box, containing the essence of the land with its diverse crafts, intertwined with the flow of history and traditional culture. Many renowned singers and artists will perform at the opening night, including the PL dance troupe, saxophonist Thanh Tùng, singers Hà Lê, Dương Thuận, among others.

As part of the festival, there will be a fashion show with the theme Signature Essence featuring the áo dài (traditional Vietnamese dress) by designers Cao Minh Tiến and Nguyễn Phương Thảo.

The highlight of the festival is the exhibition space with 70 booths introducing gift products from typical craft villages in Hà Nội like Phú Vinh woven bamboo village, Thạch Xá dragonfly bamboo village, and Bát Tràng pottery village.

Particularly, there will be a visual art exhibition using 3D mapping technology – an interactive light performance space incorporating modern technological devices.

Festival goers will also have the chance to see artistic photographs depicting Hà Nội’s beauty, taste Hà Nội’s cuisine or participate in various handicraft workshops, such as making woven bamboo dragonflies, coffee brewing, paper flower crafting, and creating colourful gifts guided by experts and artisans.

Other activities include a cyclo parade, traditional folk art performances, a skateboarding show, street circus performances, flash mobs, and hip-hop dancing.

Partnership to benefit 10,000 disadvantaged youth nationwide

Partnership to benefit 10,000 disadvantaged youth nationwide hinh anh 1
With support from partners like the InterContinental Hotels Group, the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation has favourable conditions to reach and help thousands of kids and families in need across the country. (Photo: Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation)
The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation on November 2 announced their continued partnership to support 10,000 disadvantaged youths across Vietnam.

According to the sides’ cooperation agreement, the IHG is committed to sponsoring scholarships, education, and textbooks for students from ethnic minorities, and organising career orientation events and activities to raise awareness on unsafe migration and child labour.

Paul Cunningham, IHG's senior director of operations for Southeast Asia and the Republic of Korea, said partnering with the Blue Dragon serving the mission of bringing positive changes to Vietnam is among its key activities. Together, the two sides will continue to seek out vulnerable children in Vietnam, providing them with guidance, safe places to stay, educational opportunities, and psychological support.

According to him, all 16 IHG hotels in the country are actively contributing to the foundation through various activities aligned with the group’s commitment in its Journey To Tomorrow - a 10-year action plan aimed at driving positive changes for the community, people, and the world.

Do Duy Vi, co-executive director of Blue Dragon, noted that since 2020, the IHG has been collaborating with the foundation to combat human trafficking in Vietnam while promoting improvements and assistance for disadvantaged children.

With support from partners like the IHG, the foundation has favourable conditions to reach and help thousands of kids and families in need across the country, he said.

Teams vie for national seven-a-side championship title

The third National Seven-a-Side Football Cup – Hyundai Thành Công Cup – will see the participation of 40 strong teams nationwide next month in HCM City.

Teams are to compete in four regional qualifications.

The tournament for 16 teams of the northern region will be kicked off on November 5 in Hà Nội.

After a draw conducted on November 1, clubs are divided into four groups. They will compete in the round robin format with the best two advancing to the knockout stage. The final will be on December 3.

Tùng Anh FC and DTS FC of Group B will play each other in the opening match at the Hoàng Mai District's football field.

The southern regional competition will see eight teams play in two groups from November 4 to December 12 at the Bình Thạnh Sport Centre in HCM City.

Bamboo FC will entertain My My FC in the first match of Group B at the Gia Định football field.

The central region's eight teams will compete from November 12 to December 3 at the Đầm Sen Stadium in Đà Nẵng.

Eight participants of the Central Highlands area will play from November 4 to December 2 at Tây Nguyên University's stadium.

Draws for the competitions of the central region and Central Highlands have not been made.

The two strongest teams of each region will earn their berths for the grand finale in HCM City from December 7-10.

The winners will walk away with VNĐ100 million (US$4,100). Two runners-up will receive VNĐ50 million and VNĐ30 million, respectively.

"In football, anything can happen. In this Cup-format tournament, there is no place for mistakes. Every match will be like a final," said coach Nguyễn Thanh Long of My My FC.

"I think that in terms of experience, all teams in this tournament are the same. In terms of commitment, My My aims to go far in this tournament. I have asked the players to try hard in every single game to complete our mission."

Coach Phan Doãn Dũng of Phan Dũng Đồng Nai confirmed that his team were considered not as strong as their rivals in this tournament, but they did not come to be defeated.

“All teams will compete with their strongest players leading to competitive matches. Phan Dũng Đồng Nai have made careful preparation for this Cup," said Dũng.

"We have received strong support with better quality players compared to last year. We come to the tournament to learn more from other teams and this experience will help us have high results in later competitions."

Đào Kim Kiệt's Lucifer FC will compete in the Hyundai Thành Công Cup for the first time. But some of their players competed in the Saigon Premier League and Daklak Premier League in previous years.

Kiệt believed that their experience would help his team fly high.

“We have nearly completed our preparation for the championship. Our intention is to make a strong impression on supporters with our beautiful playing style, solidarity and determination,” said Kiệt.

Meanwhile, chairman Y Thơ H’Wing of Tây Nguyên FC said his team would set a goal for each match, trying to secure points to reach the regional semi-finals.

"It will be tough but when you dare to play, you must fight hard. We believe in the players and we can make bangs," he said.

Attending the launching ceremony on November 1, Deputy Director of the Sports Authority of Việt Nam (SAV) Nguyễn Hồng Minh praised the development of the national seven-a-side football and the effort of organisers, Việt Football Company (VietFootball), VTVcab and sponsors.

Exhibition highlights Quảng Ninh Province’s 60-year achievements

An exhibition on the 60-year journey of formation and development of the northern coastal province of Quảng Ninh is taking place at the provincial Exhibition of Planning and Expo Centre.

On display are 11 national treasures, 1,500 images, 40 clips and 230 artifacts, spotlighting milestones and imprints, and outstanding socio-economic development achievements in Quảng Ninh’s development over the last six decades, as well as its beauty.

Some notable artifacts on display include the khaki outfit worn by President Hồ Chí Minh during his visit to the province, the naval hat he wore on January 22, 1962, when he visited Hạ Long Bay with Soviet cosmonaut G. Titov and named an island – Titov - after him, and the microphone used by the President during his speech at Hòn Gai High School.

The exhibition integrates many modern presentation formats such as interactive sliding walls, digital screens, and mapping projections that enable visitors, especially young ones, to have interesting and visually engaging perspectives on politics, history, culture and even wartime.

The mapping projection area, which spans over 230sq.m, showcases the famous landscapes of the locality. These include natural wonder and World Heritage Site Hạ Long Bay, Cô Tô Island, Trà Cổ Commune, the border district of Bình Liêu and Buddhist site Yên Tử.

The exhibition contributes to affirming and honouring efforts made by the local authorities and people to promote the locality’s development, especially during the renewal and integration period.

According to acting Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Cao Tường Huy, this is the largest exhibition ever in Quảng Ninh, which creates connections between the past, the present and the future.

It offers a chance for people and visitors, especially youths, to study and understand more about the locality’s development, he noted.

This activity is part of a series of events celebrating Quảng Ninh’s 60th anniversary (October 30, 1963- 2023), promoting the spirit of solidarity, joint efforts, and tireless determination and desire to develop Quảng Ninh into a prosperous, civilised and modern locality.

The exhibition runs until November 20.

Endowed with natural advantages for marine tourism, Quảng Ninh boasts a coastline of over 250 kilometres and more than 2,000 islands.

In particular, Ha Long Bay, literally “the bay of descending dragons”, is recognised as a world natural heritage site by UNESCO twice, in 1994 for its globally outstanding aesthetic merit and in 2000 for its geological - geomorphological value.

The province aims to make its tourism a spearhead and sustainable economic sector by 2030, attracting at least 25.5-26 million visitors, including about 9 million foreigners.

New version of jazz festival to enchant enthusiasts

Jazz lovers in Hà Nội can't afford to miss the chance to enjoy the complex harmony, syncopated and improvised rhythms at a jazz festival on Saturday.

One of the Hà Nội’s most extraordinary and coveted jazz events of the year, the festival will provide fascinating and delightful music experiences that will satisfy the expectations of jazz enthusiasts.

With four editions, the Jazz Festival, at the JW Marriott Hanoi, has becoming a fascinating yearly event for jazz lovers, and displaying the vigour and value of this music to the audience.

This fifth edition will be presented in a different version – ‘The Secret Garden’.

At JW Lakeside Gardens, Jazz Festival Vol 5.0 is a place where music notes ‘blossom’, uniting music-loving spirits in a poetic and tranquil space. Each everlasting melody and captivating variations will be performed, transporting audience to the lively world of jazz.

Italian songbird Daniela Ruggieri will be among artists performing at the event. A singer with a captivating voice and refined performance style, Ruggieri has made jazz more approachable to people, and generated memorable musical experiences in the souls of fans across the globe.

The festival will also feature guest bands like The BobCats Band, Pijazz Band, and Yellow Star Big Band, who will showcase well-known jazz styles such as bebop, Latin or funk.

In addition to music, food and beverage will also be provided by JW Marriott Hanoi. The mix of a refined menu and exquisite wines will make this event memorable in everyone’s hearts. For more information and tickets booking, dial hotline 093 625 2576. 

Saigon international guitar festival attracts VN, foreign soloists

Famous guitarists from Việt Nam and the world have presented four concerts and a series of masterclasses during the 2023 Saigon International Guitar Festival & Competition organised by the HCM City Conservatory of Music from November 1-5.

The festival started with the “Carnaval de Guitare” concert on November 1, featuring Mai Hayashi and Toru Kobayashi from Japan and the Saigon Guitar Quartet consisting of Nguyễn Thanh Huy, Huỳnh Bá Thơ, Nguyễn Trí Đoàn, and Trần Hoài Phương.

They played soundtracks from Ghibli Studio’s animation Howl’s Moving Castle, and popular pieces by composers such as Rossini, Saint-Saëns, and Takashi Yuasa.

The festival will also present artists Wantanabe Mihoko, Kazuo Nishimoto, Etsuko Nishimoto, and Gen Matsuda from Japan, Paulo Inda from Brazil, Gérard Abiton from France, Katarzyna Smolarek from Poland, and Leon Koudelak from Czech Republic, who will perform works by Japanese and Western composers.

A series of workshops and master classes for guitarists and guitar ensemble will be organised during the festival and hosted by guest performers.

All the classes are free to the public, where they can learn about guitar techniques and how to set up a guitar.

In the framework of the festival, the organisers will launch a guitar contest for both self-taught and professional guitarists from Asia.

The contest consists of five categories, including Open, Junior (for competitors aged under 18 years old), Guitar Ensemble, Local, and Local Junior (for contestants aged under 13).

The winner and first runner-up of the Open Category will be awarded a guitar from South Korean guitar luthier Kim Sang Gil, and a guitar from Tranguitar of Việt Nam, respectively.

The other winners will receive cash prizes. All of them will have chances to perform at the festival next year.

Nguyễn Thanh Huy, deputy head of Western Musical Instruments Department and a member of the organising board, said, “The festival aims to create an opportunity for local guitarists, particularly young artists, to learn new knowledge and techniques from famed soloists from Việt Nam and the world.”

The festival will take place at the conservatory’s music hall at 112 Nguyễn Du Street in District 1.

Tickets for the concerts are available at

International visitors flock to Phú Quốc at end of year

In the first nine months of the year, Phú Quốc welcomed over 540,000 international visitors, tripling the figure from the same period in 2022.

This number is expected to continue growing, as the final months of the year mark the international tourist season on the "pearl island".

On October 27, an A350-900 flight with the code 2W8623 brought 430 tourists from the Czech Republic to land at Phú Quốc International Airport in Kiên Giang Province.

This marked the first time Phú Quốc received a chartered flight directly from the capital of Prague of the Czech Republic.

It is planned that until April 2024, this route will continue to bring international visitors to the island with a frequency of one flight per week.

These tourists will stay in Phú Quốc for one to two weeks to explore the "world's top attractive natural island," as voted by the World Travel Awards (WTA).

Earlier, three chartered flights on October 23, 24, and 25 brought over 600 tourists from Eastern Europe and Central Asia to Phú Quốc.

In just the last week of October 2023, the city welcomed over 1,000 international visitors on chartered flights after international routes to Phú Quốc were reconnected.

According to Phú Quốc International Airport, the airport currently operates domestic routes including to and from Hà Nội, HCM City, Hải Phòng, Cần Thơ, Đà Nẵng and Cam Ranh in Khánh Hòa.

Other international flights included Incheon from South Korea with 14 flights per week, Bangkok in Thailand with four flights per week, Hong Kong (China) with three flights per week, Shanghai (China) with one flight per week, Kuala Lumpur from Malaysia with four flights per week, Almaty from Kazakhstan with one flight per week, Taraz from Kazakhstan with two flights per week and Prague from the Czech Republic with one flight per week.

Recently, Phú Quốc tourism has been struggling due to the absence of domestic visitors, but the "pearl island" is still considered a new global destination.

This is underscored by its consistent high rankings in numerous polls.

It was recognised as the "World's Top Attractive Natural Island" by the World Travel Awards, listed among the 10 most beloved resort islands in Asia by Condé Nast Traveller magazine, ranked among the top 23 best islands in the world by Travel + Leisure, and chosen as one of the most beautiful islands in Asia for two consecutive years (2022 and 2023) by readers of Condé Nast Traveler. 

Workshop talks Vietnam-Argentina comprehensive partnership

The Vietnamese Embassy in Argentina and the National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) in Buenos Aires have co-organised a workshop on the comprehensive partnership between the two countries.

Among the participants at the November 2 event, part of the activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties (October 25, 1973-2023), were Argentinian officials, UNTREF students, and international friends.

Ambassador Duong Quoc Thanh affirmed that over the past half century, the partnership has seen positive developments in all fields, especially politics, economy, trade and culture, through Party and government channels, as well as exchanges between residents, localities and agencies of the two countries.

Regular visits by their high-ranking leaders have helped enhance mutual understanding and deepen mutual political trust, he said, calling the establishment of the comprehensive partnership in 2010 a demonstration of the consolidated and expanded relations.

Notably, the two-way trade has grown spectacularly, reaching 4.8 billion USD last year, up 400% from 2012, making Vietnam the fourth most important trade partner of Argentina in Asia. Meanwhile, Argentina was Vietnam's third largest trade partner in Latin America.

With their potential and position, the two countries would strengthen comprehensive relations for the sake of their peoples, and for peace and development in the region, the diplomat said, expressing his hope that they will soon elevate the relationship to a new level, first building a strategic partnership in the areas where both have strengths.

Participating Argentinian officials praised Vietnam’s position and role in the international arena, and noted their hope for stronger collaboration in the time ahead, especially economy and trade.

On this occasion, the organisers screened a video clip featuring the land and people of Vietnam, as well as its socio-economic achievements.

More areas in Danang face landslides following heavy rains

More of the central city of Danang’s Son Tra Peninsula has suffered from landslides following torrential rains since October 13. 

The Yen Kieu-Bai Bac road has been hardest hit. A concrete road section which was the result of a landslide last year has not yet been fixed.

Landslides have occurred at five spots on Bai Bac-Cay Da road.

Meanwhile, two spots on Tien Sa Road have faced landslides. Two trees have fallen, affecting traffic. The same situation has also been reported on Ho Xanh-Bai Bac road.

The management board of Son Tra Peninsula has asked to suspend all tours to the affected areas, including Yet Kieu-Bai Bac, Bai Bac-Cay Da and Tien Sa-Suoi Om-Dinh Ban Co. Warning signs have also been installed in the area.

In October, the Danang People’s Committee approved a VND104 billion (USD4.24 million) project to upgrade the dyke system along the coastal road of Hoang Sa-Truong Sa-Vo Nguyen Giap and consolidate Hoang Sa Road on the Son Tra Peninsula. The project is scheduled to be carried out from 2023 to 2025.Son Tra Peninsula is some 10 kilometres from the northeast of the centre of Danang City. After the torrential rainy spell in October 2022, landslide spots have appeared on the peninsula.

Hanoi lacks vaccines for expanded vaccination programme

Hanoi has faced the vaccine shortage in the Expanded Immunisation Programme, according to the municipal Department of Health.

According to the director of the department, Nguyen Thi Ha, Hanoi has lacked five among ten vaccines in the Expanded Immunisation Programme comprising measles, mumps, chickenpox, rubella, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and polio vaccines.

Due to the vaccine shortage, people have used vaccination services. However, those in remote and mountainous areas lack access to these services, which is unfair, Ha added.

The World Health Organisation and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund have raised the likelihood of the polio return in Vietnam to the medium from the lowest level, mostly because of the polio vaccine shortage, Ha noted.

She has asked the National Assembly and the government to quickly deal with the vaccine shortage.

HCM City has also lacked vaccines for the programme.

Sunflower field proposed for Saigon riverbank

Authorities of Thu Duc City in HCM City have proposed building a sunflower field by the banks of the Saigon River.

This is part of a proposal to revitalise an 830-metre section along the banks of Saigon River, running from Ba Son Bridge to Saigon River Tunnel in Thu Thiem Ward. The project will focus on upgrading and building 14 facilities, including a 10,000-square metre parking lot, parks, fountains, quays and green space.

The area in front of Thu Thiem Church will be decorated with LED displays, while bamboo will be grown in various locations to create green walls along the riverbank.

Thu Duc City’s authorities have also suggested developing a sunflower field covering 5,000-6,000 square metres by the Saigon River.

The sunflower field is expected to be a highlight of Thu Duc City.

The Saigon Riverbank revitalisation project is divided into two phases. The first is expected to be finished before December 31 this year and the second is expected to be completed before April 30 next year.

Work to start on Ho Chi Minh Road section

The Ho Chi Minh Road Project Management Board has announced that construction of a section of the Ho Chi Minh Road in southern Vietnam will soon commence following the selection of a contractor.

Deo Ca Group, which won the XL1 contract, is responsible for constructing the 73km section connecting Chon Thanh in Binh Phuoc Province and Duc Hoa in Long An Province through Binh Duong and Tay Ninh provinces.

The contract includes building six bridges along the section. The contract is valued at VND6.8 trillion and expected to be completed within 730 days.

A representative from the Ho Chi Minh Road Project Management Board said that they are currently seeking approval from the relevant authorities for the selection of contractors for the remaining two contract packages, XL2 and XL3. It is anticipated that this process will be completed by the end of the year.

Work on the Chon Thanh-Duc Hoa section began in 2009 but was suspended in 2011 due to the Government’s shift in priorities towards curbing inflation and stabilizing the macroeconomy to ensure social welfare.

The first phase of the section will have two lanes with a width of 11 meters. Later, it will be expanded to six lanes. The project requires approximately VND2.3 trillion.

The resumption of this project aims to ensure the seamless connection of the entire Ho Chi Minh Road. This will contribute to reducing traffic congestion on the vertical axis of the southeastern region.

Rest areas along North-South Expy to be reviewed

North-South Expressway rest areas that are under construction or have just been put into service will be placed under review to ensure whether they comply with the master plan.
The Ministry of Transport has written to the authorities of Lang Son, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Ninh Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, Long An, and Tien Giang provinces, informing them of the review.

A working team will inspect these rest areas, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

The local authorities have been assigned to work with rest area investors to make sure that they will send a report on the investment and operation status of their rest areas by November 3.

Previously, the ministry approved a plan to develop 36 rest areas along the cross-country expressway, stretching from the northern province of Lang Son to the southernmost province of Ca Mau.

Until now, a total of seven rest areas have been put into operation, while two others are under construction.

Vietnam wins big in student contest for information security

Surpassing competitors from 10 ASEAN countries, Vietnam teams excellently achieved the highest positions in the ‘ASEAN Student Contest on Information Security 2023’ (ASCIS).

ASCIS was co-held by the Vietnam Information Security Association (VNISA), the ICT Department (under the Ministry of Education and Training), the Authority of Information Security and the Department of International Cooperation (both under the Ministry of Information and Communications.

The contest aims at raising the awareness and responsibility for information security among tertiary educational institutes. It also helps to promote the research and learning spirit among students and to discover talents in the information security field.

ASCIS was held online in both the Starting and Final Rounds, attracting the participation of about 1,000 contestants in 233 teams coming from 63 universities and colleges in 10 ASEAN countries. Vietnam registered 157 teams from 33 universities nationwide.

The format of the rounds includes such challenges as binary file or software source code reverse engineering to seek flags, software vulnerability exploitation (Exploit/PWN), web application vulnerability exploitation.

The final round was organized in HCMC University of Technology. Vietnamese teams excellently competed against other contestants from 10 ASEAN countries to win the highest positions.

HCMC Digital Map provides consistent, easy access to information

The HCMC Department of Information and Communications has just integrated and shared the database of the city’s digital map to help citizens and organizations precisely exploit map information.

The first stage of database establishment has completed with 28 data layers from the four municipal departments of Transport (3 layers), Natural Resources and Environment (19 layers), Information and Communications (2 layers), Construction (1 layer), and Vietnam Electricity-HCMC (3 layers).

To develop this first-stage database, there was cooperation among the city’s departments of Information and Communications, Construction, Natural Resources and Environment, Planning and Architecture in order to correctly update useful information to serve both state management units and citizens. In the next stage, the Information and Communications Department is going to distribute accounts and give authority to related units for more updates via professional software, with high priority on medical and education data.

The map is updated via the application programming interface (API) or an official account provided to corresponding units.

Related organizations can actively upload their information through various methods of direct uploading via professional functions in the system, batch updates of addresses using a pre-formatted MS-Excel file. The data of Vietnam Electricity-HCMC, Saigon Water Corporation, the HCMC Education and Training Department, the HCMC Transport Department have been successfully uploaded by API.

Deputy Director of the Information and Communications Department Vo Thi Trung Trinh informed that this is a 1/2,000 and 1/5,000 map, so citizens cannot update information on it directly. Instead, when spotting imprecise data, they can send a report to the system administration unit for correction.

The city’s digital map at the address of helps people to plan their route smartly and quickly, with a display of traffic options and the best way to take. It also provides real-time traffic statuses so that users can pinpoint their location, avoid congestion, and read information on the surrounding environment. Finally, the map has a function for the community to collect data from multiple sources of photos, audios, notes, and on-site data input.

With the aim to provide consistent data for all state departments and agencies on the website platform and other software systems (via API), it is necessary for HCMC to develop a common map. It takes much time and effort for this digital map, exploiting public and shared data from each related state unit, to replace other similar map platforms (Google map, Openstreet map…).

Thanks to this map, geographic information is available consistently for easy access through many smart devices. Through this platform, HCMC integrates spatial data and attributes of related units in the city, forming a shared database for other agencies’ application software.

“the Information and Communications Department has advised the HCMC People’s Committee to issue operation and exploitation regulations for the data in this common digital map. API connections are prioritized among state units with running professional systems to use, share, and form new layers for the management purposes. Following that is the launch of a storage system for this map citywide based on the common databases before sharing the data to any organizations with the exploitation needs in compliance with the approved regulations by the HCMC People’s Committee”, said Deputy Director Trinh.

The municipal’s Information and Communications Department hopes to popularize this digital map to the community and businesses in HCMC so that they can use it and give feedback for better exploitation experience in the future.

HCMC Digital Map is a common map platform for the whole city. It is expected to replace other map apps like Openstreet Map or Google map. There are various layers with different information about administrative structures, traffic, topography, satellite map.

Formal data are frequently updated onto this digital map, collected from state departments and agencies, all districts and Thu Duc City. Users can share their locations via this map on popular social networking apps such as Facebook, Zalo, Twitter, Telegram, as well as email and QR code.

Vietnam Craft Villages Festival 2023 to be held next week in Hanoi

The Vietnam Craft Villages Festival 2023 will take place at Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi on November 9-12 to preserve and promote traditional country crafts.

The organization board, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the People’s Committee of Hanoi, announced at a press conference on November 1.

Director of the Agricultural Trade Promotion Center under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Nguyen Minh Tien said that it is the first festival honoring traditional craft villages to be held on a larger scale featuring tens of thousands of agricultural and OCOP products throughout the country. The capital city of Hanoi is home to many traditional craft villages that account for over 50 percent of the total number of villages in the country.

A wide range of cultural activities will be held during the festival, such as a ceremony to honor 100 excellent craftsmen, an opening art program, ritual practice paying tribute to the ancestors and patrons of crafts, an exhibition introducing craft products and those under the One Commune One Product (OCOP) and others.

Concert to mark 100th birthday anniversary of great composer Van Cao

A concert celebrating the 100th birthday anniversary of musician Van Cao (November 15, 1923) will take place at the Hanoi Opera House on November 13.
Music lovers will have an opportunity to enjoy the music of great composer Van Cao to treasure the artistic values and outstanding contribution of the musician to the country’s music. The songs will be performed by People’s Artist Quoc Hung, Meritorious Artists Viet Hoan and Mai Hoa, singer Duc Tuan, Pham Thu Ha, Viet Danh, Thanh Thao and Anh Tuyet.

Music by Van Cao (1923- 1995) is one of Vietnam's greatest contemporary composers. His song "Tien Quan Ca" (Marching Song), was chosen by President Ho Chi Minh to be the national anthem and edited by the National Assembly in 1955.

He was also the author of famous romantic songs featuring love and aspiration for peace. Musician Van Cao was not only a musician and revolutionist but also a notable poet and painter.

Vietnamese Government approves national datacenter

The Vietnamese Government has just approved a National Data Center project in line with international standards and trends.

The center is expected to become an important piece of digital infrastructure for social management and economic growth, taking into account Vietnam's unique characteristics. It will also help Vietnam achieve higher positions in global rankings in e-government, information technology, and cybersecurity.

It will be built and operated by the Government of Vietnam to integrate, synchronize, store, and share data among government agencies following legal regulations to create a data repository on people from national databases.

The National Data Center is a core platform that provides data-related services, supports policy-making, facilitates development, builds a digital government, society and economy, and ensures national security. At the same time, it will provide information technology infrastructure for socio-political organizations, national database systems and agencies that need to use the data.

In addition, the center will use collected and synchronized data to simplify administrative procedures, improve services provided by government agencies to residents and businesses, and conduct in-depth analyses to assist the government in managing and issuing social security policies, including those on insurance, health care and education, civil servants, public employees, identification cards, financial activities and other activities from national databases.

Once operational, the National Data Center is expected to be a prerequisite for promoting the process of utilizing national databases for socio-economic development and helping Vietnam further integrate into the global digital economy.

In terms of national data, developing a comprehensive data repository with personal data and aggregated data from national databases will be the main pillar to lay the foundation for building a digital government, promoting the digital economy, and forming a digital society. It also aims to form reliable and stable data systems for the State and enterprises, provide connectivity solutions to share, reuse, and develop in-depth data analysis models/applications to create new value, new products and services, and new driving forces for socio-economic development in Vietnam's digital transformation period.

From 2025, the National Data Center will serve international information exchange, research and development strategies, and lay the foundation for research and utilization support, developing the country's science and technology base.

By 2030, more than 90% of administrative activities in information exchange among government agencies will be replaced by sharing digital data from the center's data repositories.

In addition, the project sets the target that by 2030, Vietnam will rank among the top 50 countries in the E-Government Development Index (EGDI), the top 30 in the ICT Development Index (IDI), and the top 30 in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI).

Hà Nội's teachers join in reducing dog and cat meat consumption

Teachers from over 30 Hà Nội secondary schools discussed ways to incorporate knowledge on the reduction of dog and cat meat consumption in their training activities, thereby preventing rabies in Hà Nội on November 3.

The event was jointly organised by the Hà Nội Department of Education and Training in coordination with Soi Dog International Foundation, and the Social and Behaviour Change Science Agency Intelligentmedia.

The event aims to enhance the knowledge and capacity of master lecturers on the issue as well as drive their actions via dog and cat meat trading-integrated outdoor activities.

“No one can deny the important role of the youth in leading the future society. By providing them with enlightening facts, information, and skills we hope that they can push forward positive social changes including the stopping of dog and cat meat consumption. We highly appreciate the active engagement of secondary school leaders and lecturers in bringing the issues closer to students and making changes. It’s a critical time for Việt Nam's Education and Training sector to take the pioneering leadership on the issue for their reputation and contribution to addressing humane issues in society,” said Rahul Sehgal, Director - International Advocacy, Soi Dog International Foundation.

The training focuses on providing multiple types of knowledge including a general background on dog and cat meat trade and consumption, and techniques to increase the trainer’s personal awareness and skills on follow-up actions.

“Dog and cat meat trade and consumption are becoming controversial, and that needs to be addressed from an educational aspect. Integrating information about self-protection and pet protection for students in extracurricular activities is a suitable and effective choice to inspire and encourage students. We will do our best to teach students about rabies prevention and live safely and humanely with pets to gradually eliminate the trade and consumption of dog and cat meat in the future,” said Trịnh Đan Ly, Head of the Education and Training Department, Đống Đa District, the Hà Nội Department of Education and Training.

The event ended with interactive and exciting pilot training. Participants were divided into groups and demonstrated how they integrated the issue with their students. The demonstration creates a platform where event experts and lecturers can share creative ways for incorporation as well as adaptive improvement for real situations.

“Knowledge is not enough to change behaviour. However, knowledge is important. It is critical to explain to secondary school lecturers and students why behavioural changes towards the consumption of dog and cat meat need to be made. Accordingly, their engagement helps facilitate the change of practice of their family members, friends, and social individuals who might be potential and existing consumers,” said Bùi Thị Duyên, Social and Behaviour Change Director of Intelligentmedia.

Under the leadership of the Hà Nội Department of Education and Training, participants reached a high consensus on a joint action plan where behaviour change messaging stopping dog and cat meat consumption will be disseminated and student actions will be taken and sustained. It results in the reduction of people who have the intention to use the products in the future as well as creates more barriers to existing users. 

Vice President encourages Qatari investment in Vietnam

Vietnam encourages and creates favourable conditions for Qataris businesses and the Qatar Investment Authority to invest in the country’s major fields such as natural gas, renewable energy, infrastructure and green transition, said Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan.

Receiving newly-accredited Qataris Ambassador Khalid Ali Abdullah Abel in Hanoi on November 3. Xuan proposed that Qatar share experiences and support Vietnam in developing the Halal industry, and hoped the two sides would soon deploy cooperation projects in this field.

The vice president noted with satisfaction the fruitful development of cooperative relations between Vietnam and Qatar through regular delegation exchanges in recent times, saying consolidating political trust is an important basis, giving fresh impetus to bilateral cooperation.

However, she pointed out that bilateral cooperation is still not commensurate with the fine political relations between the two countries. She proposed that the two sides continue to maintain the exchange of delegations at all levels, enhance trade and investment promotion activities, and increase the import of each other’s strong products.

Ambassador Khalid Ali Abdullah Abel welcomed his host’s proposal, and affirmed that Qatar always considers Vietnam a reliable partner in the Asia-Pacific region.

He hoped that during his term, he would promote cooperation with Vietnam in the areas where Qatar has strengths such as oil and gas, infrastructure development, tourism and people-to-people exchanges.

The ambassador assured his host that he would try his best to contribute to consolidating and further strengthening the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

HCM City students to enjoy long Tet holiday

Many universities in HCM City have announced their plans for the Lunar New Year in which some schools are giving students four to five weeks off. 

HCM City University of Industry and Trade director of enrollment and communication Pham Thai Son, said that they would give students a 28-day holiday from January 29 to February 25, 2024.

"We want students, teachers, and staff members to have more time with their families during this time," Son said. "Those who live far away can book their travel now to save time and money and avoid the tiring travelling around Tet. We've carefully arranged the syllabus to prepare for this holiday."

The HCM City University of Architecture, HCM City University of Technology, HCM City University of Culture, Industrial University of HCM City, and Saigon University, among others, are also giving students and teachers a long Tet holiday lasting 21 days from January 29 to February 18, 2024.

Many other universities have also announced a long holiday which lasts from two weeks to 20 days. Some will arrange online classes to meet the schedules.

Students at the University of Economics and Law under the Vietnam National University in HCM City will have two weeks off for Tet, but they can attend classes online two weeks before and one week after the holiday, which means that students can have five weeks with their families during the holiday.

"Students going home early and back to school late will help ease the travel situation around Tet holiday," the university said. "They can also save money during that peak travelling season."

Meanwhile, students from preschool to high school levels will have 16 days off for Tet.

HCM City attracts lots of immigrants to come for work and study and usually sees a huge number of people travelling home and back during Tet. Congestion is a common problem at the city's Tan Son Nhat Airport and some bus stations.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs have just proposed to the government a seven-day holiday for employees during the Tet holiday from February 8-14.

Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes